New Delhi, Nov 19: Renowned Islamic evangelist Dr Zakir Naik has been slapped with an FIR by the National Investigation Agency (NIA). The case was booked against him a couple of days after his NGO Islamic Research Foundation was banned by the Ministry of Home Affairs for 5 years under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). Naik has also been booked under the stringent provisions of UAPA, along with section 153-A of IPC for allegedly promoting hatred between different communities on grounds of religion.Also Read - Zakir Naik Continues to Receive 'Dirty Money' From Gulf

From the looks of it, the right-leaning government at Centre has prepared a water-tight case to nail the controversial Salafi preacher. From Zakir Naik’s perspective, it could be rational to junk the plan of returning to India. Being the face of global Wahhabi propagation, overtly funded and supported by Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, it would remain a cumbersome task for the Indian probing agencies to seek his extradition. However, being a self-proclaimed proud ‘Indian Muslim’, Naik should not turn into an absconder. Also Read - Al Qaeda Urges Indian Muslims to Wage Jihad Against India

Why Zakir Naik should return? Also Read - Maldives Govt Denies Entry to Controversial Islamic Preacher Zakir Nair, Says 'If You Want to Preach Hate, we Can't Allow That'

For a leading theological intellectual, and so-called promoter of peace, it would be shameful to run away from the authorities and enter the fray of absconding criminals. It would leave a dark stain on the three decades of public life, whose roots emerge from a small office in Mumbai’s Dongri.

In the open letter written by Zakir Naik in his defence after the Dhaka terror attack, he claimed that he believes in the Indian judiciary. “I still have faith in the judiciary and I know that truth will ultimately prevail,” Naik said in the letter. Wouldn’t he appear as a hypocrite if he evades the law despite claiming that he respects the judiciary?

Zakir Naik has an opportunity to set the perfect precedent before the Indian Muslims by reposing his absolute faith in the almighty Allah, who would ensure absolute justice. If he is truthful, innocent and being framed under false charges, he has no reason to fear. A true believing Muslim has only the fear of Allah concealed in his heart. If he is on the right path, no probing agency in the world could drive him away from his homeland.

To exhibit the correct version of jihad

Zakir Naik has often condemned terrorism in the name of Islam and expressed anguish against the actions of Islamic State (ISIS). While speaking to Economic Times, he said, “Jihad means to strive and struggle to make the society better. It also stands for self-defence.”

To prove his words, Naik should return back to India and exhibit his innocence. Naik claims to be targeted by the system due to their ideological bias. His stature as a Muslim ideologue would only grow further if he comes back and faces the law of land and legally clear himself of all the charges. By fleeing away from his homeland, Naik would set the wrong precedent among Indian Muslims, a section of which is attempting to lure the youth away from mainstream citing the alleged biases in the system.

Leaving India is no solution for ‘Indian Muslims’

After Zakir Naik came under radar of security agencies following Dhaka terror attack, the Islamic preacher claimed that it was at an attack on ‘Indian Muslims’. In form of megalomaniac, Naik somehow projected himself as an icon of Indian Muslims. “… I realized some time back that if you’ve decided to target a community, you’ve to first target the biggest name and the most popular figure of the community,” Naik said in his open letter.

If Naik brands himself as biggest icon among the Indian Muslims, (in a way surpassing Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and scientist APJ Abdul Kalam) then he should set the right precedent by returning to his homeland and indulging in a legal battle against government of the day.

As a note of advice to Zakir Naik, who considers himself the epitome of Indian Muslims, it is important to quote another influential Indian clergyman Maulana Mahmood Madani. While speaking to Rediff, he said, “Indian Muslims have no better place to live than India. We are Indians not by chance, but by choice.”

Disclaimer: Views expressed by the author are his personal opinion.